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The city of Saintes, in the Poitou-Charentes region of France's central west coast, was founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago. The conquering troops of Caesar chose the location for settlement on the banks of the Charente River. The city retains evidence of its past even today, and is known for its strong sense of its history and deep cultural roots.
The city is divided by the river into the left and right banks, with the left bank being home to the administrative seats, the courts of justice and the remains of a Roman forum. The right bank is where visitors can enjoy the natural surroundings of the city's public garden, with its variety of trees, plants and flowers.
The right bank is also where the Saintes Rail Station is located. Saintes is an important transport hub in the region and is well connected both by road and rail to the rest of the country. Several daily trains arrive in Saintes from all parts of France. The station has passenger facilities, including car hire.
The Saintes Rail Station will see an expansion in 2009 when more rail links are added to the regional TER trains. The project will be undertaken by the Autorail a Grande Capacit TER de la Rgion.
The motorways in and out of Saintes are in good order, making car hire another option for exploring the surrounding countryside. There are beautiful churches in nearby Fenioux, Aulnay and Nuaill sur Boutonne. In Rioux, the Chteau of Roche-Courbon was once described as Sleeping Beauty's castle and is well worth a visit. For the best rates and availability, book a rental car online in advance.